Wednesday, February 01, 2012

National Organization Loses Appeal Trying to Hide Donors

The National Organization for Marriage has lost yet another court round in its efforts to hide the identities of its donors from the public. NOM claims to be a "grassroots" organization, but certain filings have shown that NON's money principally comes from less than a dozen donors each of which has given large amounts of money. As a result, it would seem that despite its crocodile tears, NOM's really worry is not about protecting donors from claimed harassment as much as it is about not having voter know the real face behind NOM. Many have speculated that NOM is actually a front group for the Roman Catholic Church and/or the Mormon Church - institutions who don't want the full extent of their anti-gay activities revealed to the public. The Boston Globe looks at NOM's latest court loss. Here are highlights:
An appeals court on Tuesday upheld the state's campaign disclosure law that requires a national anti-gay-marriage group to release its donor list, but the group plans to take the fight to shield the list to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The decision pertains to ballot question committees in Maine and represents a second defeat for the National Organization for Marriage, which previously lost a challenge to the state's political action committee laws and laws governing independent expenditures and advertising attribution and disclaimers.

The latest appeal focused on part of the law that says groups that raise or spend more than $5,000 to influence elections must register and disclose their donors.

The NOM, which says it was founded in 2007 in response to the "growing need for an organized opposition to same-sex marriage in state legislatures," donated $1.9 million to a political action committee that helped repeal Maine's same-sex marriage law. It said it believes that releasing the donor list would stymie free speech.

Mary Bonauto, an attorney with Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, said Bopp's claims are an attempt to divert attention from NOM's failure to follow Maine disclosure rules. "Courts have said it's important for voters to know who the donors are for each side since that information may help them decide how to vote. Everyone else abides by the disclosure rules and so can NOM," she said Tuesday in an email statement.

Even if the Supreme Court rejects the appeal, additional action would be required before the donor list could be released. The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices must conduct an investigation to determine whether the list must be made public.

The Supreme Court has previously rejected arguments like the one being made by NOM in a case arising out of Washington State. Hence, NOM's tactics are dishonest - what a surprise - and are actually aimed at delaying disclosure as long as possible. No one is as dishonest as the professional Christian set and their cowardly homophobic financial backers.

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